We are told in the personal development industry to aim big, dream, to set a vision… and more. But is it realistic? Does it deliver?
I recall rolling eyes, sighs, looks of ‘Yeh..ok mate..dream on’ variety when I’d replay lofty ideas amongst my peers, friends and family.
In our own seminars I cite a story about telling a ‘good friend’ years ago that; “I intend to break in to the professional speaking business”. His reaction, “They won’t accept you– it’s a closed market” I didn’t respond because I didn’t know how to. I regret that now!
However, ‘frenemies’ (friends who are also enemies) like my dear friend are unsurprisingly silent today, ‘too busy’, don’t “really need help” in fact refuse to even acknowledge the existence of a world class, life changing programme that we have successfully developed and delivered. They will not dare to observe the tangible change achieved by everyday people on our programmes!
Of course your business may not be everyone’s cup of tea but lessons gained from coaching hundreds of new speakers shows a stark and dark reality. A reality that faces all of us when making a life change whether it is becoming a speaker or a more effective business person. There will almost always be people in your network, who do not want to see you progress, whilst there are many reasons for this here I focus on what to do to successfully pursue your speaker journey.
The Reality of The Reality
Working as an entrepreneur or speaker can be lonely at times and many of us want to share moments with loved ones and those close to us. That is normal – however we need to be mindful that we all have different limiting beliefs. A ceiling that we define as ‘reality’. People don’t just have limiting beliefs about themselves but also others especially those close to them.
The net impact can be a lack of appreciation at best or deliberate belittling of your work and your journey- sadly all too common for aspiring speakers due to the challenging nature and public profile of this industry.
Here are some approaches that I offer speaker mentees to employ as they build their speaking careers.
Embrace New Networks and New Supporters
When you make a significant shift in your personal life, business or career you inevitably lose some existing supporters along the way. It therefore becomes crucial for you to develop new relationships that will add value to the new you. Supporters who will provide the nurturing that you need to prosper.
It doesn’t mean that you isolate yourself from old networks but allowing yourself permission to build new connections will give you a stronger pipeline of support.
Speakers at the Academy grow both professionally but also emotionally through the warm, supportive and positive environment central to really owning their new speaker status.
Put your stake in the ground
When I started (informally) as a Speaker – I would imply it was just a passion, just an interest. I struggled with the statement “I am a professional speaker”. Years on I realised I was being unfair to myself and potential clients by not acknowledging what I was good at, what was my right, and in fact what I had gained so much experience in.
I was fortunate to find myself amongst supportive colleagues, coaches and mentors who encouraged me to lay claim to my profession. To be acknowledged you must first acknowledge yourself.
My suggestion is therefore to action that CV, social media statement, Facebook and Linked In profile and include “Speaker” in your job title, even if it is an aspiration. It will come.
Keep Speaking Keep Training and Keep Coaching
As a speaker coach I am blessed to have an amazing job. A job that has allowed me to travel the world, meet people on the global stages of financial, military and political power. I have been able to touch the lives of thousands of people – and I say this not to show off but to share that the skill is invaluable in the world we live in– and strangely remains one of the best kept secrets. Having said all that it is not easy and in the early days I was unsure of the market, I thought I might not continue.
On one such afternoon with the thought of quitting circulating I was returning back to my office from lunch and bumped in to a previous client. He told me how he had since changed career and was now lecturing at university– he referenced a technique I had shared about standing strong before a speech, he smiled, laughed and said it works Billal! I was beaming we shook hands and said goodbye.
I continued to walk to my office and bumped in to another client by sheer coincidence who shared vividly how our programme had got her the confidence to flourish at interview – I was feeling great by this feedback – we exchanged pleasantries and moved on.
A few minutes later seconds from my office I bumped into yet another ex-coaching client!! She told me how she had written two books and was now a motivational speaker! We talked and talked and high fived!
At this point my self doubt had been quashed. I knew my business, my speaker journey and my dream was not to be dismissed. I knew I could make a difference.
Why do I tell you this?
Well firstly the results helped me to believe in myself, my market and my business once more.
Secondly I don’t believe it was coincidence that I saw three ex-clients on that same lunchtime!
Thirdly -when you start out on any challenging journey whether it be speaking or personal transformation you must strive, be patient and be consistent because those rewards will be round the corner. Sometimes literally
……..Moral of the story :
“Speakers Don’t Quit. Quitters Don’t Speak” – Billal Jamil
Stuck on your speaking path? Give us a call, we’re always happy to talk!